The Ticket

This afternoon I picked up a lottery ticket. No, I didn’t buy it, but found it lying on the ground. This ticket cost somebody $10. The purchaser had scratched off all 25 numbers, but not one of them matched the winning numbers listed at the top.

$10 for nothing. Purchased in hope; discarded in disappointment. Too bad! But maybe next time! Or if not then, the time after that—or the time after that . . . .

An admission

On the back of the ticket it says, “For help with a gambling problem” and then it gives a website. So even the lottery officials admit that some of their most loyal customers are addicted.

Alcohol, drugs, and gambling—each has an Anonymous organization devoted to helping people who have lost control—and along with it, possibly lost their paychecks, their family, and their self-respect. It’s so sad!

Catering to human weakness

The promoters of this lottery know human nature. They realize there are enough people out there who want quick and easy cash and are willing to plunk down their hard-earned dollars over and over and over in hopes of winning big.

Almost like the carrot on a stick, the lottery beckons but rarely delivers. Sure, some do win big. And much of the money they so gleefully receive comes from the pockets and purses of people who can’t afford their losses.

It’s sad that our great state would stoop to raising revenue from the weaknesses of its own citizens. And what are those weaknesses? Wanting to cash in without effort and at the expense of others.

A far better way

The apostle Paul said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:33-35).

Paul needed money just as we do today. If there had been a lottery in his day, can you imagine him standing in line to buy a ticket? And yet if there ever was a winner (in the best sense of the word) it was Paul (Philippians 3:7-14; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Paul modeled for others the ethic of hard work and sharing with others.

That’s the winning combination! That’s the ticket!


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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